While we are still not yet able to safely gather in large groups as in the past to celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day, there are still plenty of ways to stay safe and get involved.
Earth Day, April 22
Fifty-one years ago, Earth Day was founded on April 22,1970 as a way to celebrate our planet and learn ways to be active in taking care of it. The idea has spread globally with almost every country in the world now hosting environmentally focused events.
The City of Mesa is introducing new environmental initiatives this year. In February, the Mesa City Council supported taking action on climate change by adopting an aspirational climate action plan to protect and conserve Mesa’s environment and natural resources. Programs will prioritize increasing renewable energy and have the goal to reduce carbon emissions within City operations. Mesa has also recently teamed up with Local First Arizona to offer an Arizona Green Business Certification program to the Mesa business community.
In turn, the City invites residents and businesses to take action, too. Mesa is supporting efforts of the community by offering more than 50 fun and easy, and locally relevant tips on its website at www.mesaaz.gov/sustainability. You will find information about Mesa’s composting program, seed library, incentives for grass removal, great water-saving ideas, activities for kids, and much more.
Mesa also has partnered with Mesa Public Schools this year to get students involved with an “Express Your Environmental Self” creative challenge. Students submitted entries of poems, pictures, paintings, or pieces of art to bring awareness to an environmental theme of their choice. The winners of the contest will be announced on Earth Day.
Registration is still open for a Parks and Recreation event, “Holiday Play-Earth Day,” taking place at Carriage Lane Park on Saturday, April 17. Geared for youth from ages 5-12, activities will include tree and flower planting, a ladybug release, a solar cooking demonstration, upcycled crafts, and more! Attendance is limited and preregistration is required. Note that the City is adhering to all health and safety guidelines to provide a safe and enjoyable experience. Register by visiting http://bit.ly/Parks-HPED.
At the i.d.e.a. Museum, which is now open at limited capacity, a special upcycle challenge for visitors is planned on Earth Day (April 22). Guests can participate in a ‘Seed Starter’ activity, while supplies last. Purchase timed-admission tickets at https://www.ideamuseum.org.
Arbor Day, April 30
The City of Mesa has designated Friday, April 30 as Arbor Day to celebrate the City’s commitment to tree care and planting programs. In honor of the nationally celebrated observance, Mayor John Giles has issued an Arbor Day Proclamation. Members from Arizona State University, who have identified a study area in west Mesa for extreme heat impacts, will present briefly at the April 19 City Council meeting where the proclamation will be announced. ASU is promoting a Cool Island Neighborhoods community-led initiative to help identify solutions to cool communities with actions such as tree planting.
Arbor Day celebrates and promotes the significant role trees play in our urban environments. Not only do trees help clean the air and water, but even more importantly, they provide shade that helps to create cooler, walkable connections from neighborhoods to school, work, or transportation routes. By celebrating Arbor Day, we show that our community values trees not just for their beauty but for their numerous health and environmental benefits as well.
Again, partnering with Mesa Public Schools, Mesa Mayor John Giles, councilmembers, and representatives from Police and Fire have recorded a reading of “The Lorax” by Dr. Seuss. Third grade teachers and students will have these videos available for Arbor Day. “The Lorax,” first published in 1971, chronicles the plight of the Lorax who speaks for the trees against mindless environmental destruction and greed. It has become a popular metaphor for those concerned about the human impact on the environment.
For the eleventh consecutive year, the City of Mesa has been named a Tree City USA Community by the Arbor Day Foundation to honor its commitment to community forestry. The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters.
Residents can learn more about the 50+ Earth Day ideas and can find Arbor Day information like tree selection, planting, and care information at www.mesaaz.gov/sustainability.